Best Evidence Topics
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Gym rehabilitation following a rotator cuff repair

Three Part Question

In [adult patients following a rotator cuff repair] Is [gym rehabilitation equivalent to 1:1 physiotherapy]AT [improving pain, range of movement and function]

Clinical Scenario

You see a patient following rotator cuff repair. You wonder whether treating them in a gym rehabilitation class would be as efficacious as a course of 1:1 physiotherapy treatment at improving pain, range of movement and function.

Search Strategy

MEDLINE 1966-04/12, AMED 1985-04/12 via the OVID interface. CINAHL 1966-04/12, SPORTDiscus 1830-04/12, via the EBSCO interface. In addition the Cochrane database and PEDro database were also searched
(Shoulder OR shoulder joint OR glenohumeral joint OR shoulder girdle) AND (Shoulder surgery OR rotator cuff repair OR infraspinatus OR supraspinatus OR subscapularis) AND ( Physiotherapy OR physical therapy OR rehabilitation OR manual therapy OR exercise therapy OR home exercise OR group exercise OR post operative care OR post operative regimen)
LIMIT to human AND English language.

Search Outcome

There were no studies which were appropriate to the three part question


Studies were found which have examined specific elements of the post operative regime following rotator cuff repair such as the value of continuous passive motion, early tendon loading and aquatic therapy on range of motion, pain and muscle strength. Studies have compared accelerated and delayed rehabilitation programmes, two types of instructional approaches to home exercise and home exercise compared with standard physiotherapy. However there are no studies yet to compare gym rehabilitation with standard 1:1 physiotherapy.

Clinical Bottom Line

There is currently no evidence on the benefit on pain, range of movement and function of gym rehabilitation compared to 1:1 physiotherapy post rotator cuff repair